I’ve been reading Tracie Peterson’s novels for close to twenty years, and this one is a great example of why I keep coming back for more. However, I did not read Book One of this series (Land of the Lone Star) and was able to enjoy it just fine as a stand-alone novel. This story takes place in Texas 1865-1866 – just after the end of the Civil war. Tracie has vividly captured what it might have been like to live in an area where the war might ‘officially’ be over, but most of the town is still divided in its loyalty to either the Union or the Confederacy. The split becomes entirely personal when her main character, Laura Marquardt, finds herself interested in a former Union Captain, while her sister is engaged to a former Confederate … who is holding a serious grudge.
Oh, add in to the mix that the Union Captain overseas a troop of coloreds, and Laura feels driven to educate former slaves – it’s a powder keg of tension every time their family gets together! Reading this provided interesting insight into the post war atmosphere. The characters are refreshingly believable, and the plot will keep you reading long into the night. (You just ‘have to know’ if the bad guys are going to get caught, and if the good guy is really just following orders …)
Women would enjoy this book most, but I do feel men who read historical novels would enjoy it too. Because it is set in Texas, the novel does still have a little bit of that ‘Western’ feel even though it’s more about post Civil War anxiety than ranching or other more common Western themes.
Book Cover Review
The thing I find most interesting about this cover, and the other book I received for review around the same time, is the fact that they have used photos of models in extreme close up. For a long while there was a trend to only show the body of the model and leave their head off page. Now, there is almost no background at all, because the faces have been cropped into extreme close-ups. The focus is still primarily on the woman, but the close juxtaposition of the male character implies he is her protector and probably more? Costuming is slightly Western, although the male character appears to be in a Union uniform if you look more closely (it was so blurred out that I didn’t notice it was a Union uniform at first glance, which might be a flaw if you are trying to draw in readers of Civil War historicals.)
The colors used are muted, and warm. They help to give the cover design a romantic and aged appearance. The fonts used in the title also help to give it a slight Western feel. The designer has carried this through gracefully on the spine and back cover as well. The marketing copy is legible yet the background is interesting and adds to the appeal of the book. Even from the back I would be drawn visually to see what this book was about.
Further information about the author and book are provided by the CFBA below. I received this book for review from the publisher.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Tracie Peterson is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than 85 novels.
She received her first book contract in November, 1992 and saw A Place To Belong published in February 1993 with Barbour Publishings’ Heartsong Presents. She wrote exclusively with Heartsong for the next two years, receiving their readership’s vote for Favorite Author of the Year for three years in a row.
In December, 1995 she signed a contract with Bethany House Publishers to co-write a series with author Judith Pella. Tracie now writes exclusively for Bethany House Publishers.
She teaches writing workshops at a variety of conferences on subjects such as inspirational romance and historical research.
Tracie was awarded the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for 2007 Inspirational Fiction and her books have won numerous awards for favorite books in a variety of contests.
Making her home in Montana, this Kansas native enjoys spending time with family–especially her three grandchildren–Rainy, Fox and Max. She’s active in her church as the Director of Women’s Ministries, coordinates a yearly writer’s retreat for published authors, and travels, as time permits, to research her books.
ABOUT THE BOOK
When Laura Marquardt first meets Brandon Reid, their encounter is anything but pleasant. But when the two are seated together at a dinner party, they soon find that they share similar interests–Laura desires to educate blacks, and Brandon, as a white officer over colored troops, eagerly supports her cause.
When Laura’s sister, Carissa, marries her Confederate beau, Laura finds herself in a difficult situation when she overhears plots to kill Union soldiers. Though in her heart she feels she should share this information with Brandon, Laura fears she will betray her sister’s trust and possibly endanger her sister’s life. And when Brandon’s motives for pursuing her come into question, her heart is even more conflicted. Where is God leading her?